I didn’t think anything when I saw a post over at FanGraphs yesterday advertising an internship opportunity with the Houston Astros. The job is an IT thing, developing database software and all kinds of stuff I don’t know anything about. It’s unpaid.
But when you get into the comments, there are a lot of people going off on the Astros over this, arguing that an unpaid internship for such a highly-skilled position that will produce a valuable, tangible product for them is unethical at best, and possibly illegal. One commenter links to this article as a point of reference.
I know nothing about the laws in this area so I refer you to the commenters there and appeal to the expertise of others in the interests of assessing this. I will say, however, that it’s long been the case that baseball teams have paid little if anything for top-shelf office talent, using the sexiness of a baseball team on one’s resume as a lure. And the fact is, they can get away with it because there are thousands who would love the chance to work in baseball, even for peanuts or, in this case, less than peanuts.
Illegal? I dunno. Simply wrong? Possibly. But I bet they have no trouble finding someone willing to take the job for nothing, because that’s how it has always gone in front offices.
(hat tip to Alex for the heads up)
Former major league outfielder Raul Mondesi has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 60 million pesos for corruption as mayor of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, Hector Gomez reports. Mondesi served a six-year term as mayor from 2010-16. He initially ran on the ballot of the Dominican Liberation Party, but switched to the Dominican Revolutionary Party over a year later.
Mondesi, 46, played parts of 13 seasons in the majors for the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels, and Braves. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1994 with the Dodgers, made one All-Star team, and won two Gold Glove Awards. He is the father of the Royals infielder of the same name.
The paint company Sherwin Williams created a neat promotion at Angel Stadium. There’s a giant paint can with the brand name in left-center field. If a player hits a ball into the can, Sherwin Williams will donate $1 million to the Angels Baseball Foundation, the Angels’ charity for kids.
Angels outfielder Justin Upton appeared to trigger that charitable contribution when he hit a solo home run to left-center field against Indians closer Cody Allen on Tuesday night. The ball bounced in front of the can and then went in on a hop.
ESPN reports that Sherwin Williams is using a technicality to try and get out of the obligation. Because Upton’s home run didn’t land in the can on the fly, Sherwin Williams is saying they’re not obliged to make the $1 million donation. In 2014, Frazee Paint and the Angels agreed to the paint can promotion and indeed the press release says, “…if an Angels player hits a home run that lands in the can on the fly, the company will make a $1 million donation to benefit the Foundation’s efforts to improve the lives of children in the community.” Frazee Paint is now owned by Sherwin Williams.
According to Forbes, Sherwin Williams is worth $29.2 billion, ranking at 724 on the Global 2000. One would imagine ponying up the relatively minuscule sum of $1 million would be worth it rather than taking the P.R. hit from the dozens of articles that have been and will continue to be written about the company’s pedantry over a charitable donation to needy children.
MLB is currently not allowing the video to be embedded so here’s the link if you want to watch it.